Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

let-memory-heap-fuel-on-the-altar-of-praiseWe are at the beginning of a new year, 2017, and at the beginning of a new sermon series: “Praise and Worship!” In my spirit I sense we will be on this topic for a while as we usher in 2017 on the best foundation we could ever lay down! The Bible is really one complete inspired Word of God to show us how to worship. God created us for communion. He created us to worship Him.

The book of Psalm has many verses referring to praise and worship. I love the heart of the writers in this book. They speak out how they are feeling; good or bad, and allow you to see their human side. Then they pour out their praise to God for Who He is.

Psalm 9:1 – 20 NLT

Psalm 9:1 – 2 NLT

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

 

“I will praise…” This phrase is stating what someone will do. It is a declaration

The word Praise is translated: H3034

ידה

yâdâh

yaw-daw’

literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); – cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving). Strongs Hebrew and Greek Lexicon

It is a hand extended out to revere or worship God. When someone extends a hand, like a hand shake, they are saying: “I accept you.” “I make a covenant with you” (shaking hands in agreement). One may say that the hand is an extension of the heart. Praise should come naturally to a believer.

“I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart…” The heart joins in with the praising, it can’t help it. “With all my heart…” expresses the psalmist’s deep devotion and commitment. This is what is called in the New Testament “making melody in the heart,” or “singing with grace in the heart.”

Eph. 5:19 NLT

Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

It is not mere mental singing, but vocal singing, the heart joining in; for the word here used for praise is to confess, to speak out, to declare openly the praises of God in the public congregation, as David elsewhere determines to do.

Psa 111:1 NLT

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart

as I meet with his godly people.

Our whole heart should be engaged in every part of divine service and worship, whether in preaching or in hearing, or in prayer, or in singing of praise. Sometimes our hearts are far from God in worship and divided between God and what is going on in this world. That is why we need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist in

Psalm 86:11 NLT

Teach me your ways, O Lord,

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

so that I may honor you.

Lord teach us to praise and worship You with all of our heart, not just lip service, or quickly spoken and then forgotten.

There is a new song by Kalley Heiligenthal that speaks of God’s praise to be ever on our lips:

Ever Be

(Kalley Heiligenthal)

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold

Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old

Your love is enduring through the winter rain

And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful you have been

faithful you will be

you pledge yourself to me and its why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan

Your kindness makes us whole

And you shoulder our weakness

 and your strength becomes our own

Now you’re making me like you

Clothing me in white

Bringing beauty from ashes

For You will have Your bride

free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame

and known by her true name and that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

And that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

We should always be ready to praise the Lord with our lips with thankful hearts for Who God is! He will be praised even if you don’t praise Him. He can command the rocks to cry out His glory. No way is a rock going to take my job of praising God for ever and ever.

“I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” “I will tell…” This is stating that all the stories of all that God has done from generation to generation will be spoken from the praiser’s lips. If they are not remembered, a generation might easily depart from the Lord. We have to tell. We have to declare the good works of the Lord.

Having trouble getting your praise on? Remind yourself who God is and what He has done in your life. Remind yourself of His promises in His Word! Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise. Once you get the fire lit, it is easy to keep it going by thanking God of all the marvelous things he has done in your life.

“I will be filled with joy because of You…” King James version states; “I will be glad and rejoice in thee..” Gladness and rejoicing is joy manifested!

Glad is translated: “brighten up, gleesome, chirp, joy, make merriment. The word rejoice means: “ to jump for joy, that is, exult: – be joyful, rejoice, triumph.”

Whoot Whoot! We are to be filled with God’s joy because of all the marvelous things God has done for us. We are to allow Joy to be manifested in us to the point of jumping up and down and rejoicing in praise to His mighty works!!!

“I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” The psalmist often connects joy with praises, as one leads to the other!

The word praises is translated differently here then it was in the previous verse. Praises in the Hebrew is:

“H2167

זמר

zâmar

zaw-mar’

A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

It shows it is more then a thought or a suggestion. It is stating I will sing, I will play my instrument, I will use my voice in praise to declare God’s name and lift Him to the highest of heights, to the glory of his name, his being, and perfections, as displayed in his marvelous works, and in the revelation of his word, and especially in His Son; and under the character of the “most high” God, the supreme Being over all creatures, angels and men.

Psa 7:17 NLT

I will thank the LORD because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

I love “I will” statements from the Bible. It shows stability. Again, it is a declaration stating I will do this no matter what comes my way! Saying or singing these statement out loud does something in your spirit. It becomes a solid foundation that you can rely on when trouble comes.

No matter what… I will sing praise to the name of the LORD!!!

Are you holding back any part of your heart from God? God wants to pour His Spirit into ALL of your heart, not a portion.

I pray you enter into God’s presence as you praise Him daily.

 

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com 

 

God is Bigger Than My Emotions

God is Bigger Than My Emotions

GOD IS BIGGER THAN MY EMOTIONSI was traveling with some friends to a band practice. I wanted to allow one of them to sit in the front passenger seat and I sat in the back seat behind them. Shortly after traveling I started to get sick to my stomach. Within a few more minutes I needed to have the windows open and the heater turned off. I thought I was going to throw up. Finally we arrived to our destination and I ran into the bathroom as I felt like throwing up. Fortunately I didn’t.

Motion sickness has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. Often I forget about it as I usually drive my own car or sit in the front passenger seat. But there was a time in my life, when I was growing up, that I would get motion sickness every time I traveled with the family. I would dread long trips in the car knowing I would be sick the entire time we were traveling. The only thing that would help me with my motion sickness is to have the car stop every once in a while and get out and walk around in the fresh air. I remember one time, after a women’s conference I spoke at, I was traveling in the back seat on the way to the airport. Sure enough I started to get sick to my stomach, and my traveling friend did too. My host said she knew exactly what I needed to make my stomach feel better. We stopped by her house and in a few minutes she came back with a handful of tootsie roll pops. My friend and I just looked at each other in bewilderment wondering how can a tootsie roll pop fix our motion sickness. We opened up one of the suckers and started sucking on them. To be truthful it really didn’t help, but it got our minds off of the sickness and gave our mouths something to do.

Being sick to our stomach is not a fun feeling. It pretty much takes away any strength we may have for the day. Sometimes being sick to our stomach can overtake us and stifle any activity we may want to do.

Thinking about motion sickness, and how it affects our lives, makes me think about our emotions and how they affect our lives. We can get emotional sickness if we are not careful. Emotional sickness is allowing our emotions to take over our practical thought life. God is bigger than our emotions and has given us the ability to have self-control and tame them.

If we allow our emotions to take over our lives we will be living in emotional sickness. Living in any kind of sickness for too long takes a toll on our bodies. Just like the physical manifestations that take place when we are sick, we can experience physical and spiritual manifestations when we are emotionally sick.

Emotional sickness can manifest in so many different ways. Do you find you are always asking for forgiveness because of hurting people’s feelings? How about isolating yourself because you think no one likes or loves you. Do you get mad easily over things that really are insignificant? Are people stepping back from you and giving you a wide birth? Do you always think about yourself and how things affect you? These all can be signs of emotional sickness.

HOW TO DEAL WITH EMOTIONAL SICKNESS

1. Learn to cry out all your frustrations to God

We have to remember that God is bigger than anything we are going through. God is big enough to vent or cry out our frustrations. Actually this is very healthy.

David cried out to God many times about what was going on in his life. Here are just a few verses expressing His cries:

Psalm 3:1 – 2 (NKJV)

“LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.’”

Psalm 4:2 – 3 (NKJV)

“How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him.”

Psalm 5:1 – 3 (NKJV)

“Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD, in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.”

Psalm 6:1 – 7 (NKJV)

“O LORD, do not rebuke me in Your anger, nor chasten me in Your hot displeasure. Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am weak; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled; but You, O LORD—how long? Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake! For in death there is no remembrance of You; in the grave who will give You thanks? I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows old because of all my enemies.”

David cried out to God often and also found comfort in doing so. Another example is Moses. He cried out to God often and even changed the Lord’s mind. Moses cried out to God concerning the plagues in Egypt:

Exodus 8:12 – 13 (NKJV)

“Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh. And Moses cried out to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had brought against Pharaoh. So the LORD did according to the word of Moses. And the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courtyards, and out of the fields.”

Exodus 17:3 – 4 (NKJV)

“And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, ‘Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?’ So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!’”

Moses was not afraid to share what was on his mind to God.

Exodus 32:7 – 14 (NKJV)

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!’ ‘Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.’ Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a might hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’?  Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom said to them, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

2. Learn to manage your emotions

When we are feeling a strong emotion, especially if it is anger or fear, we need to learn how to manage it. Emotions are not good or bad, they just are. God created us as emotional beings. So to try and “control” our emotions, or totally get rid of them is impossible. It just won’t happen. But if we learn to manage them we will have a better life. We need to learn to vent our emotions properly.

Don’t be easily affected by your emotions. If you are in the middle of a situation and need to make a decision, allow time to think before you act. If you make a decision, allow more time to pass and see if that decision settles in your spirit. If you are uneasy still about it chances are it is the wrong decision. But if it settles in your spirit and you have prayed about it and sense God’s peace, then walk in that decision.

We all are human and we all have emotions. Men and women alike have the same emotions. Both men and women experience emotional pain and frustration. It is how we handle our emotions that seems to separate men from women. As a general rule; women have a tendency to vent their emotions outwardly and men keep them inward. Yet there are exceptions to every case. Still both men and women have emotions and have to deal with them.

I admire my husband as he is even tempered and very seldom shows any negative emotions. But, on the other hand, it is often hard to know if he is happy with something too. Because I have been married to him for 30 years, I know him pretty well. I know when he is mad or happy by just watching his body language. I appreciate how he handles things when he is frustrated. Most of the time the average person wouldn’t even know he is frustrated.

Scripture tells us to guard our hearts because out of it flow life itself.

Proverbs 4:23 (Amplified Bible)

“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.”

3. Learn to live your life according to the Word of God and not your feelings.

If we look at the verses after Psalm 3:1 – 2 we can see how David stood on God’s word and didn’t allow his emotions to take over:

Psalms 3:3 – 6 (NKJV)

“But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.”

He reminded himself of who God is and what he can do. David encouraged himself in the Lord all by remembering what God has done. That is where the Word of God can help us. Getting into the Word and finding appropriate scriptures to help us with any emotional situation is standing on solid ground.

4. Learn to trust in the Lord for everything. 

God is trustworthy. He has proven time and again His promises are true. He has shown throughout Biblical history His character and integrity. If God says it in His Word, believe it. There are so many scriptures in the book of Psalms alone that express how we can trust God. By trusting God, we learn to not be ruled by our emotions. It is a knowing in your heart that God is in control, and He will get you through any given situation.

Here are just a few verses on trust:

Psalm 5:11 – 12 (NKJV)

“But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You, let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For you will bless the righteous, with favor You will surround him as with a shield.”

Psalm 7:1 – 2 (NKJV)

“O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me, lest they tear me like a lion, rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.”

Psalm 9:9 – 10 (NKJV)

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

We seek Him and He never forsakes us. This is a promise! You can look all through the book of Psalm and find verse after verse about trusting in God. If you have trouble trusting God, I encourage you to look and study the Word of God for yourself and find out what it says about trusting God.

The more we trust God, the more we won’t be swayed by negative thoughts in our minds. Thoughts will turn into strong emotions, and strong emotions will make us act. What thoughts are filling your mind right now? If you “feel” the need to act impulsively it is a sign that you are allowing your emotions to overtake you. It is a true symptom of emotional sickness.

To get rid of emotional sickness is part of revival because it frees us from the bondage our emotions can shackle us with. Emotions truly can prevent us from experiencing all that God wants to give us. Allow God to revive your emotions by healing your emotional sickness. Give God back control of your driver seat of your life and sit in the passenger seat and enjoy the scenery. Get ready for a adventurous ride of your life.

7 THINGS THE EMOTIONALLY STRONG DO

Emotionally weak people suffer tremendously. Being clingy or needy for love, acceptance or attention, they do things that they should not do and accept things that they should not. Inevitably, it generates in them a whole range of negative emotions (e.g. fear, anger, sadness, despair, guilt, doubt, depression, jealousy and shame) that slowly, but surely, destroys them from the inside out. Indeed, it is now well acknowledged that emotions greatly affect the way our body functions. Consequently, the emotionally weak suffer not only emotionally, but also physically.

In the end, even their spiritual well-being is impacted, which is very dangerous. It is therefore important to know what the emotionally strong do to live their life with power.

What are the 7 critical things the emotionally strong do?

  1. Emotionally strong people DO NOT BEG FOR LOVE

They receive all the love they need to function well as human beings directly from God. They know in their hearts that only their Father in heaven can love them with an uncontaminated and unconditional love. Additionally, they are aware of the fact that only He has their best interests at ALL times.

John 3:16  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:37-39 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Zephaniah 3:17

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Continually receiving love from God, they feel accepted for who they are and experience strong feelings of self-worth. They are certain of their value and know that they matter, that they have a critical role to play in the overall plan of God for humanity. This makes their lives meaningful and truly worth living.

Filled with God’s love, they rapidly become givers of love, rather than takers of it. In other words, God’s love flows through them to others and nourishes them spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally. When all is said, emotionally strong people do not beg for love: rather, they generously give love to others.

2. Emotionally strong people ARE NOT AFRAID TO LOVE OTHERS

They do not love others in order to be loved in return or be accepted by them, but simply because loving others is a key part of what defines them. And they love others, not as the world (or Hollywood) would like them to, but as God wants them to. Basically, they love others by treating them as they would have them do to them. This is the golden rule of love.

Mark 12:30 – 31 NKJV

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

Not being dependent on others for their love, joy – and I should add peace – they can love others without being afraid to be rejected or hurt. They know very well that not everybody will respond to their (unconditional) acts of love in a proper way. However, this sad fact does not prevent them from giving love as much as they can. They do not focus on those cases for which their love was not received, but solely on those cases for which their love was appreciated. Even if 99 percent of their acts of love produce no results whatsoever, they take great joy in the fact that the remaining 1 percent helped transform the lives of receptive people.

3. Emotionally strong people FORGIVE QUICKLY AND COMPLETELY

Acknowledging that they needed God’s forgiveness to be with God, they quickly forgive others. In fact, they do so whether or not people ask for their forgiveness. They know that it is not worth spending any amount of mental and emotional energy on evil pursuits, and that by holding grudges they end up hurting themselves even more.

Being wise, they eagerly activate the power of forgiveness in order to free themselves from the chains that Satan tried to put around their hearts and minds. They know that in the vast majority of the cases, people do things to them without really knowing what they do because they might be spiritually blind or unaware of facts.

Col. 3:13 The Message Bible

Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

4. Emotionally strong people DO NOT RETALIATE OR TAKE REVENGE

Rather than retaliate and take revenge, emotionally strong people let God defend them and render them justice in due course.

Romans 12:19 NLT

Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

They do not want to spread more hatred, animosity, bitterness, resentment, averseness and vindictiveness than already exist in this dark world. They know that they have already won the war against the powers of darkness thanks to what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and that God is the person best placed to render them justice for only He has a bigger view of things and of the evil forces that influence and deceive people.

I should add here that if we have been offended or hurt by someone, then it is also because we are not as strong emotionally yet as we should be. Indeed, the emotionally strong do not let their pride push them to be hurt by the behavior of people. We live in a dark world, and we are bound to be the recipients of sins committed by others against us. We cannot let those sins impact us so much that they destroy us through revenge and unforgiveness.

As Paul told us in Ephesians 6:12, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and spiritual forces. To combat sin, whether committed by others, or by ourselves, we should use the spiritual weapons that God put at our disposal: the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

Let me be completely honest with you now: if you want to take revenge personally or have been truly hurt by someone, then it shows that you care more about a situation than you should. Remember that you are not of this world anymore, and that this world, as we know it, will be completely destroyed before being totally recreated. Be detached from anything that this world can offer you, like an inflated ego, fame, and the like.

 

5. Emotionally strong people DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS TO BRING THEM DOWN

Being completely aware of who they are in Christ and of the immense value they have in the eyes of God, they do not let their worth depend on what others think of them. Their self-worth does not fluctuate, be it upwards or downwards. To put it differently, they are resilient to what people think or say about them, and this resilience helps them to continue to love others when they are the subject of criticisms, gossips and personal attacks.

Luke 6:32 NIV

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.”

 

6. Emotionally strong people DO NOT FEAR THE FUTURE OR LIVE IN THE PAST

The emotionally strong know that God is their sole provider and that they will never be in want. They are also full of hope, and envision only a future dominated by victories rather than defeats. They do not dread anything, but look forward to the future with positive expectations.

They do not know all that the future holds for them, but they know without the shadow of a doubt:

Romans 8:28 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

They can only be in peace, having no reason whatsoever to look at the future with fear. Even death is not an issue for them, for they know that it is not the end of life, but the beginning of a new and better one, where there will be no more pain, nor crying, nor tears, nor sickness, any more.

Revelations 21:4 NKJV

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

As to the past, the emotionally strong can look at it without being impacted by it. Whether their past was glorious or filled with afflictions, defeats and pain, they know that when they gave their lives to Jesus, they became new creatures. They also understand that they have to live as a new creature, and thus in the present, in order to claim all the abundance that they are entitled to following the death and resurrection of their Lord, Jesus.

For them, the past is… all gone and must be left behind. They move, not backwards, but forward, and with high expectancy. They do not waste time analyzing the past or regretting some of their past decisions. Rather, they seek to acquire godly wisdom and to renew their thoughts for they know that it is the key to their continual transformation into the likeness of Christ.

7. Emotionally strong people DO NOT DO THINGS THEY DON’T WANT TO DO

They find out what they are good at and focus on their strengths. They are mentally strong and emotionally strong to say “No” when needed. This helps them reach their full potential.

Yes, we all have to do things we don’t like to do, but the emotionally strong never do things they do not really want to do. They are so filled with God’s love, Spirit and wisdom that they actually want to do the things that God commands them to do in the Bible.

They may not love every second of it, but they nevertheless enjoy being stretched and challenged because they know that it will bring them one step closer to being more like Christ.

Furthermore, they do not do things to win the approval of others, but simply to fulfill their passion, which is to express in practical ways God’s love to others. They may therefore volunteer to buy food for an elderly person, or to tutor a child, or to offer to babysit in order to give some parents a welcome break.

What’s more, with them, a “yes” means yes, and a “no” means no. This avoids them from making promises that they will not be able to keep. Furthermore, the emotionally strong do not gossip nor lie. They have no need to feel superior or to put others down, are not envious of the success, popularity, or talents of others, and do not need to be the center of attention. Having been saved, they want others to be saved or to sanctify themselves more. When in need, they turn to God. Period.

Conclusion

If you are currently emotionally weak, I urge you not to turn this characteristic into a crutch that you will keep holding onto for the rest of your life. And please quit making excuses for yourself or others. It only makes you more emotionally weak.

It does not matter where you come from, what you went through and the habits you had till your new birth, you can overcome your negative emotions and take captive your thoughts. Yes, you can. As a born-again believer, you are equipped with supernatural powers and abilities. If you stop nourishing your negative emotions (the ones that live in the old you) and start feeding the positive emotions that reside in the new you, soon you will develop an emotional strength that you did not imagine you had.

Believe in yourself and in the power that lives in you. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior and Lord, then you believe that He has been raised from the dead. Do you have that faith? Now, guess what? The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can help you win the fight against your emotional weakness. You have to believe that as well. If you do, and are ready to admit your emotional weaknesses and exercise your faith muscles, then you can embark on the road that leads to emotional transformation.

God is bigger than our emotions. You do not have to live the rest of your life emotionally weak. You can be the person that God created you to be. As you develop emotional strength, you will enjoy more abundance in your life and become a more powerful source of blessings for others.

All you need for your emotional transformation is already in the new you. Do you believe it? Will you then act upon this truth and belief? I hope so because you deserve a better life than the one you currently enjoy. Do not quit on yourself. Stand up spiritually and claim your emotional strength.

Your Sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Pastor Kris Belfils and Serge Roux-Levrat

God is bigger than my Fears

God is bigger than my Fears

Do you have big problems? How big is your God? What is your view of God and how He can help you in your life? We can be surrounded by circumstances, fear, self-pity, relationship struggles, financial hardships, health issues, and so much more. When we look at the issues and worry and fret about them, they become bigger and God becomes smaller. How big is your God?

One can watch the news or read a news paper and see so much evil of people being brutally killed, we see terrible crimes, and horrible despicable things happening all over the world. Is God bigger then all of that?

This is the first of a new series, “God is BIGGER!” We need to remind ourselves of Who God is and what He is capable of doing. Our problems are no match for our powerful God!

There are many Bible stories of God showing how BIG He really is and what He did for the people who cried out to Him.

Daniel expressed how awesome God is with his words after God showed him the dream of the king and it’s interpretation.

Daniel 2:20 – 23 NKJV
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings: He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king’s demand.

Wisdom and might are God’s. Times and seasons are His. God removes kings (leaders) and raises them up. God gives His wisdom and knowledge to those who are wise and seeking it. God reveals deep and secret things. God knows what is in the dark, and light dwells in Him. He answers those who call to Him.

Jesus moved with compassion and healed many and raised the dead.

Matthew 19:26
But Jesus looked at them and said,  “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

“With God all things are possible!” Not just some things, but all things! What looks impossible to you is possible with God. Nothing can stump God or make Him wonder if He can fix it. He is the great physician. He is all knowing and all powerful.

Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

In the book of Job we read:

Job 26:5 – 14 TLB
The dead stand naked, trembling before God in the place where they go. God stretches out heaven over empty space and hangs the earth upon nothing. He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds are not split by the weight. He shrouds his throne with his clouds. He sets a boundary for the ocean, yes, and a boundary for the day and for the night. The pillars of heaven tremble at his rebuke. And by his power the sea grows calm; he is skilled at crushing its pride! The heavens are made beautiful by his Spirit; he pierces the swiftly gliding serpent. These are some of the minor things he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who then can withstand his thunder?

All people will have to stand before God and give an account of their lives. What will you say about yours to a God who “stretches out the heaven over the empty space and hangs the earth upon nothing? Who makes it rain, and who made the oceans and set their boundaries?”

If the God of heaven can do all that, He is BIG ENOUGH for any situation in your life. I love that God can do all of that and yet He created us and cares for us personally.

Now that we have painted a picture of how powerful God is, let’s look at what He can overcome in your life! In this series we will look at how God is bigger and more powerful to help bring breakthrough in many areas of your life if you will let Him. Let’s start today by looking at Fear.

GOD IS BIGGER THAN MY FEARS

Fear, we all have to deal with it, sometimes everyday, in our life. Fear can paralyze us if we allow it too. Fear does serve a useful purpose in that it is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But if we allow it to rule above our faith, and what God wants us to do for His Kingdom, the devil wins. Remember that the devil is full of fear.

I’ve heard the saying, “Fear is nothing more then faith in the devil.” Ouch! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ever have faith in the devil! We are serving the enemy when we fear and pull away when God wants us to push forward and persevere and expect a breakthrough.

It’s amazing what we lose in life by listening to fear instead of listening to God. Choose to listen and obey God’s voice and not your fears. You will gain so much and stay on the right path.

If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been. ~ Joyce Meyer

Everyone struggles with fear! Fear is a spirit!

2 Timothy 1:7 NJKV
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

FEAR is something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension, a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain whether the threat is real or imagined! (dictionary.com)

The word “fear” in this text is translated in the Greek as “timidity.” God doesn’t want us to be timid. We get timid and pull away instead of pressing forward and taking the land.

What fear can cause
Fear can cause us to reduce the size of God and elevate the size and opinion of man.
Fear can cause us to reduce the size of God and elevate the size of your problem.
Fear can cause us to lead people in the wrong direction.
Fear causes us to stay quiet when we should clearly speak up.
Fear causes us to be passive about an issue that The Lord has clearly brought to our attention.
Fear causes us to seek consensus rather than really seeking the voice of The Lord.
Fear causes us to not engage the broken, the hurting, the misfits and the neglected.
Fear causes us to refuse to embrace change. (Fear of the unknown)
Fear causes us to try and control things and take matters into our own hands rather than trusting The Lord and trusting others.
Fear causes us to conceal sin and shame in our lives when God’s Word is so clear that we should ask others for help.
Fear causes us to seek the easy decision, what’s comfortable rather than seeking the right one.
Fear makes us choose wrong choices.

So what do we do with our fear? I don’t know how you have dealt with fear in your past, but it is my heart to help you overcome any fear, and to realize God is bigger than anything that comes against you.

How to overcome fear

1. Overcome fear with faith.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

A.W. Tozer said, “Fear is of the flesh and panic is of the Devil.”

It seems when we entertain thoughts of fear, and allow it to settle in our spirit, panic will set in. Many people have had panic attacks in their life all due to fear. Most of the time the fear is something we think will happen and not a factual outcome.

The Bible says, that Satan is like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). He roars that he might make us afraid. The roar of a lion can actually paralyze its prey causing it to be its easy target. If Satan can create fear in us, we become an easier prey for him to destroy.

God offers us faith as Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”

Everyone is given the measure of faith as a born again Christian. You have faith, you don’t need to pray for it. I don’t need to pray for faith, I just need to use the faith that I have. The more I use the faith that I have, the stronger it will get. Faith can grow and the only way it grows is if you use it. Faith is a powerful force that resides on the inside of our spirit. When it is released tremendous things can happen.

We have to have faith to get up in the morning. We have to have faith to raise our children, or drive in traffic, or get married and stay married. So also we need faith to overcome our fears. Faith is a decision we make about where we are going to put our trust. Our trust has to be in God and His Word. He is for you and not against you. He has great plans for you. He brings opportunities for you to walk in and wants you to walk in them fearlessly.

There are times I feel anointed to preach the Word of God, then there are times. I may be fearful or don’t sense God’s anointing that I have to step……. into it by faith and God always meets me and helps me to get to where I need to be.

We can release our faith in three different ways: by praying, by saying, and by doing. Stop saying how you feel or think and start saying what God says about your situation. Allow your faith to arise in times of being afraid. The shield of faith is your best weapon to overcome the lies and roars of the enemy.

2. Confront your fear.

What we cannot perceive, predict, understand or explain, creates in us an unknown fear. That is why children are afraid of the dark and cautious of strangers over which they have no control. We need to learn how to confront our fears. Again, “Knowledge is power.” Once we understand what the core issue is, it decreases its hold on our life and the fear subsides.

Sometimes when we go through fearful experiences, we fail to analyze it. Understanding what was previously unknown can go a long way to dispelling fear. Understanding a problem is 90% of the solution.

Be determined to overcome and confront what is making you fearful. You can never overcome anything you don’t confront! We can fear our past, or fear of natural disasters, fear of relationships, or fear of a new job or opportunity. When we choose not to confront, the fear controls you and your decisions.

Confrontation is not usually pleasant or comfortable. Most people don’t want to confront issues in their life. They would rather live with it, allowing it to rule them, instead of overcoming and pressing forward with out the bondage of it all. But when someone has confronted issues in their life, and overcome them once and for all, they look back and ask themselves, “Why didn’t I do this a long time ago.” You see now they are walking in freedom instead of the bondage the fear or their flesh had on them.

It is a night and day difference of being paralyzed by your issues and trying to live your life from day to day in struggle and misery, then to confront the issues and decide you want to change, (and be determined to change) and walking out the other side as an overcomer in liberty and power. It’s your choice: Fear and bondage vs. Freedom and power!

3. Be courageous.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but courage is actually forward motion in the presence of fear.

God wants us to be strong and courageous. He spoke this to Joshua many times before he crossed over the water to possess the promised land.

Joshua 1:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Be strong (confident) and of good courage, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”

Joshua was just getting ready to face the giants in the land and to possess the promises God gave Moses forty years earlier. He needed courage to be encouraged to go even in the face of any fears he may have experienced.

Hebrews 13:6 Amplified Bible
“So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?”

What can man do to me? Our flesh screams daily for being comfortable. Our spirit should be tenacious to overcome our flesh and to press forward with the new God has waiting for us.

The Webster dictionary speaks of being encouraged as: “to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope.” This is what we need to do for ourselves. We need to encourage ourself in the Lord. I have written on this in my article, “How To Encourage Yourself In The Lord.” It is the number one article on my Blog. Daily I have people reading that article and they found it by searching the internet on “How To Encourage Yourself.” Everyone of us need to be encouraged daily. If we lose our courage, we have lost the war.

Courageous is possessing or characterized by courage; brave (dictionary.com). We need to have brave hearts in this journey of life. Anyone can give up and retreat. It takes a courageous person to press on in the midst of fear or discouragement.

4. Ask for God’s peace to reign supreme.

John 14:27 Amplified Bible
“Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”

God has given us His peace. It is one of the fruit of the the Spirit. We already have it. Allow it to grow in your life. “Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.”

There are times it comes right down to our choices. Do we choose to be fearful and intimidated, or do we choose to walk in God’s peace and assurance that He never leaves us and will take care of us. If he takes care of the sparrow, surely He watches over you and I!

Luke 12:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And [yet] not one of them is forgotten or uncared for in the presence of God. But [even] the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm; you are of greater worth than many [flocks] of sparrows.”

God doesn’t want us to walk in intimidation. He wants us to walk in boldness and to have our spirits be at peace.

Philippians 4:6 – 7 Amplified Bible
“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

5. Confront the devil and cast him out!

Never let fear fool you into thinking there is nothing you could do about it. Sometimes by the grace of God, with a little effort you can put an end to that danger. You must have an active engagement with the problem, or in other words take precautionary measure. If you fear that your children may catch polio, then get them vaccinated.

Don’t allow anything, or anybody to rob you of your God-given peace! The enemy can’t do anything to us, only if we let him. His biggest weapon he uses against us is our own mind and what we think. So he will fill your mind with doom and gloom. He will tell you that there is no hope. These are the times we confront the devil and cast him out, and shake him off! Amen!

In order to overcome fear brought about by Satan you must have a bold confrontation with him. Jesus did this many times when dealing with and casting out evil spirits.

Col. 2:15 Amplified Bible
“[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross].”

You must realize the fact that Satan is real, but a defeated foe. We will overcome when we take our authority in the name of Jesus. For greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

God is bigger than any fear you may face. Remind yourself of 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” His spirit lives in us! God is big enough for anything you are going through.

You may be facing…
Fear of the unknown = God is bigger
Past hurts or failures = God is bigger
Self-pity = God is bigger
Relationships = God is bigger
Sin = God is bigger
Disease = God is bigger
doubts = God is bigger
Experiencing a storm – God is bigger

Be strong and courageous and get a glimpse of who God is in your life. He is Bigger than anything and everything you face!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

The Songs Of Christmas: The Song Of Mary

The Songs Of Christmas: The Song Of Mary

The Songs of Christmas: The Song Of MaryWe all know of how baby Jesus was born. But have we ever looked at the expressions of certain key people during that time? Mary is the first character to be approached by an angel, Gabriel, to share how highly favored she was and how blessed she was among women.

She was favored by God. This means that she was endued with grace. She was favored as the Lord was with her. She was human just like you and I. But I believe she received favor because she was humble, quick to obey God, and lived her life doing the right thing. She was highly favored among women. She was beautiful inside and out.

Grace is “unmerited favor,” meaning something we receive despite the fact that we do not deserve it. Mary needed grace from God just as the rest of us do.

God gave His unmerited favor to us when He forgave our sin through the sacrifice of His Son. We can ask for His favor to go before us where ever we go. We are His children.

The word Favor means “to grace, that is, indue with special honor: – Make accepted, be highly favored. This is our portion too.

Sometimes we receive God’s favor when others think we shouldn’t. I love it when God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. When He uses me in spite of what others think I deserve or what they think I should be doing.

God brings promotion not man. We can receive a promotion that we were not even qualified for. That’s God’s favor! When God gives you favor He puts you somewhere you have no qualifications, or maybe even no right to be there and it is God who keeps you there. Trust in God for His favor and His staying power.

Remember when God does promote you that you are nothing without Him. Tell yourself: “I am everything in God and I am nothing without Him!” This will keep you humble which is what Mary was and I believe that is why God favored her so highly.

Mary was told by Gabriel that she would have a Son and He would be called, Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32 – 33 NKJV)

Mary’s response began with a question: “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). Then Gabriel answered: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)

Not only that but the angel proceeded to tell Mary that even Elizabeth, who was Mary’s relative, has also conceived a son in old age, and was six months along. She was called barren, but “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)

Mary then responded, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” This shows quick obedience, humility, and trust. Mary was just an ordinary young lady with an extra ordinary assignment.

She went to visit Elizabeth and as she greeted her and when she did, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth quickly spoke with a loud voice, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:42 – 45)

The Song of Mary

This leads us to Mary’s response and a beautiful song came forth from her heart and spirit. It truly is an outward expression of what God was doing inside of her.

Luke 1:46 – 55 NKJV
And Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

1. Mary gives God all the praise!

My soul magnifies the Lord…

Mary immediately makes God bigger by magnifying Him with her soul. Her very core of who she was bursts out with praise. She knew who she was and Who God was in her life. She knew it was nothing she had done to receive this amazing favor with God. It was all God’s doing.

When amazing things happen to you be quick to praise God for them and realize it wasn’t you, but God who brought it to you! Thanking Him is praising Him. Don’t be quick to take all the credit. Can you imagine if Mary took all the credit? How prideful that would have been. No, Mary was very humble in her view of herself and what was told to her. God could trust her with this amazing assignment He had for her. Can God trust you? What is your character like? Would you be trustworthy if God gave you an assignment? What are your dreams and desires? Can God trust you if He gave you what you wanted? Would you be quick to respond in praise and magnify the Lord like Mary did?

2. Mary rejoiced!

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior…

Those who magnify the Lord are those whose spirits rejoices in God their Savior. If you are not rejoicing then look to see if you are magnifying the Lord. Are you making God great and glorious in your inner being?

Not only was Mary quick to praise God in all of this, but Mary’s spirit rejoiced in her God her Savior! Rejoice means to feel or show great joy or delight. Some synonyms: happiness, pleasure, joy, gladness, delight, elation, jubilation, exuberance, exultation, celebration, and merrymaking.

Mary allowed her joy to be seen and heard! She couldn’t keep it quiet. It is a natural thing to express joy or gladness outwardly and in Mary’s case, she did it with her entire spirit. This is worship in action. She was a worshipper and worshippers are quick to express their joy.

We find in the Bible many verses about showing our joy, here is just one…

Psalm 47:1
Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

In this verse we see clapping and shouting is a way of expressing our joy! God has done great things for all of us. Let us be people, like Mary, who express our joy to God outwardly.

Next we see why Mary magnified and rejoiced in Her God.

Mary magnified the Lord

3. For what God has done for her.

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me…

She had never seen God so great as He now showed Himself to be to her. How personal to be chosen to give birth to God’s Son.

She was humble. She was capable of handling being the Mother of God’s Son without it going to her head.

Mary speaks of the blessing her privilege would bring her, For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. Mary would not be blessed because of any special or superior worth or perfection of her nature, but because of the Child she would bear. She regarded herself as unworthy to receive this favor, yet, not only Elizabeth but all generations would call her blessed. She realized this honor from God was incredible. Mankind would call her blessed. She was a simple human touched by divine power and presence.

God owes Mary nothing, but Mary owes God everything. She knew she shouldn’t be worshipped but God alone. When generations will call Mary blessed this means they are going to praise God because of the marvelous manner in which He honored her.

Think of that simple young girl in her hiddenness having been told that her name would be repeated, and recognized as blessed, until the world ends. Nobody knew her yet she was destined for greatness. Mary didn’t take any glory for this. She placed the honor at God’s feet with her words and attitude. This is a powerful lesson on how to receive distinctions, honor, and being exalted. We should give all the glory to God when He raises us up.

God cultivates the unseen to eventually be seen for His glory! Get ready to shine for Him when He takes you out of your hiddenness!

~ Pastor Kris Belfils

In verse 49 Mary gives the reason for her blessedness as God’s mighty power and holiness which brought about her conception. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. Because the All Mighty God had worked in this pure, set apart, and sinless way, His name would be recognized as holy, completely set apart from sinfulness.

Verse 50 not only does Mary exalt God’s power and holiness, she also lifts up His mercy. AND HIS MERCY IS upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him.

God’s mercy is available to the reverent or “to those who fear Him,” that is to those who in heart and mind are filled with worshipful or devout regard for God. These are the genuinely God-fearing and pure people God does not withdraw His kindness from.

Though God bestows common grace on all, He reserves special consideration, special mercy for those who fear Him. These are those who bow before His holiness and marvel at His kindness. Those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

4. For what He has done for mankind.

He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.

To thoughts of how God was towards herself, Mary shifts her thoughts to how God is towards others.

The “arm” is the symbol of strength. God has shown His strength to all mankind and will continue. God and God alone is supreme. No one or nothing is greater then our God. No one and nothing is stronger then our God.

Man can boast and be proud and think they are the best, but God will dethrone them and exalt the lowly and humble. This is foolishness to those who don’t believe or follow God. God did this with Mary, He did this with His Son from being born in a manger to being seated at the right hand of God, and He will do it with you and I as we stay close to Jesus and follow God’s ways.

Keeping our hearts tender towards God keeps us humble. Hardening our hearts towards God and His ways will make us proud and we will go into our own lawlessness.

Mary sings how God has scattered the proud (those who think more highly about themselves in their hearts) like a whirlwind scattering dust, and has put down the mighty from their thrones. God has lowered and will continue to lower those who are proud and arrogant and haughty from their earthly positions and will raise up those who seem insignificant and rejected. Those who are poor will be raised up at their proper and right time. Don’t think the proud or evil doers will not be punished or get away with their doings. God is a God who sees all and responds with justice.

Are you hungry? God will fill you with good things where as He will send the rich away empty handed. The rich stand on their own riches often. Usually riches makes one proud. Sometimes you will find a rich person who is humble. Those who are humble have not puffed themselves up in their own eyes. God can and will work with the humble and broken. It’s the proud and rigid He rejects. Their attitudes are, “Why do I need God when I have everything I need?” I am not saying all rich people are arrogant, but in this song of Mary there are general statements towards the proud and rich because often they are the ones who reject God and His ways.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be scattered or be brought down. I have experienced having too much pride in my life before and God always comes and humbles me. It is a promise from Him that He will do this. Do yourself a favor and guard your heart from pride. You will be better off for it.

5. For keeping His covenant promises.

He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever…

Mary has been praising God in song for His deeds. In the closing stanza she points out what those deeds have meant to Israel and the promises made to the forefathers. Verse 54 lifts our hopes by calling to mind God’s help and mercy. “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,

Through-out Israel’s history God has stepped-in to help the remnant who served Him. The history of Israel tells the story of God’s help and mercy.

God acts and His actions toward His people reflect His mercy. May His name be magnified forever and ever.

Verse 55 proclaims the hope and vindication of God’s covenant promises. As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Mary was aware that the birth of her Child was a fulfillment of the covenant promises to Abraham and his descendants. The blessed seed of Abraham is Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Messiah, who would give His perfect sinless life so that all who believe might be saved.

The God who has helped His people so often in their past distresses and captivities because of His covenant with them, was coming to offer them and all of mankind salvation and deliverance. It is an invitation He still extends to us today.

The Song Of Mary from The Message Bible brings it all down into perspective!

Luke 1:46 – 55 The Message
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.

It is amazing how one event changed and saved the world. This saving is still available to all of us today. We, like Mary, need a Savior. Let us be people who are humble and quick to respond in obedience and praise to God for all He has done!

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

How To Hear From God

How To Hear From God

How Can We Hear From God5Does God speak to people today? We can read in the Bible of different stories of how God spoke to them. In the Old and New Testament there are many events and circumstances of God speaking to people. But, does He still speak to us today? Some people think God is a fairy tale and isn’t real. Others believe He is real but is mute. Some think God stopped speaking after the New Testament. All of those thoughts are wrong. God DOES speak to people today.

How can we hear from God? There are several ways we hear from God and there are many hinderances that prevent us from hearing His voice. One thing is for certain if we are a Christian and follow the Bible, we should hear His voice.

John 10:27 NKJV

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Do you know the voice of your Shepherd? Do you have a hunger in your heart for fellowshipping with Him? Nothing can satisfy our longing for God, except communion and fellowship with Him. It is hard to walk in obedience to God if we don’t know or recognize His voice. We need to know Him. Know His character.

Hearing from God is vital to enjoying God’s eternal plan for our lives. Listening to God is our decision; no one else can make it for us. God won’t force us to choose His will, but He will do everything He can to encourage us to say yes to His ways.

We are sheep and Christ is the Good Shepherd. I love that! We have a Good Shepherd Who is constantly looking out for us. Are you an obedient sheep or a rebellious sheep?

Sheep are listeners and then doers. Sometimes they need correction, well often times. But our Good Shepherd has a rod and staff to guide, correct, and comfort us on our journey in life.

Psalm 23 Amplified Bible

A Psalm of David.

The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack. He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters. He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

David understood how the Lord was His Shepherd and what His role in his life was. God does lead and guide us through His Word, and through other ways for us to know what steps we are to take.

There are a few things we can do to help us hear God’s voice.

  1. Expect God to Speak to you.

God is always speaking to us today. Remember that you are in a relationship with Him as soon as you received Christ in your heart as Lord and Savior. Relationships take time. We expect people to talk to us, especially those we are close to.

I know my husband will talk to me an I know my husband’s voice. There could be a hundred people in a room with him, and all of them speaking, but I know I could pick out my husband’s voice. 29 years of marriage and communion with him has given me the ear to hear him. I want to hear from him. I expect him to speak to me, if not that would make for a very cold and shallow relationship.

This is the same with God. We have His Holy Spirit living in us and because of that, we do have the ability to tune into His voice. If you don’t know what the voice of God sounds like, spend time praying and reading His word. Take time to listen for His voice. Don’t be the one doing all the talking with your concerns and petitions. Love doesn’t demand. So there are times we wait in God’s presence and expect Him to Speak to us. We take the time to listen.

First, His voice will never contradict His Word. If you wonder if what you are sensing or hearing is from God, go to His Word and He will confirm it. If it doesn’t confirm, then chances are it is not from God.

Another way to know if it is God who is speaking to you is to test and see if the spirit  acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God who has come in the flesh.

1 John 4:1 – 3 NKJV

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

I stopped just now and took the time to quiet my heart. “Be still and know that I am God” came to my mind so I stilled myself. Then I waited. It was just a few seconds and this is what I heard:

-I love you

-I am a warrior

-I am strong in Christ

-No weapon that comes against me will prosper

Wow, this really happened. This is what I heard God say as I quieted myself before Him for just a few seconds.

Now, does what I heard line up with God’s Word? Yes, all four things that I heard do line up with His Word. Here are verses to prove what I heard:

“I love you” – God loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3 “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.)

“I am a warrior” – I do not fight against flesh and blood. (Eph. 6:10 – 18)

“The Lord gets his best soldiers out of the highlands of affliction.”

~ Charles Spurgeon

“I am strong in Christ” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

“No weapon that comes against me will prosper” – Isaiah 54;17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”

Imagine if we allow ourselves to slow down and rest in His presence and listen to His voice? The good news is God is always willing to speak to us. Sometimes we think God isn’t saying anything, and that may happen at times, but God is always right there wanting to comfort, guide, protect, and shield us if we listen and allow Him to.

Right now let’s stop and take a few minutes to listen to God’s voice. (Speak out what you hear to everyone – most Pastors wouldn’t do this for concern of what people might say, but I know God wants to talk to us right now.)

2. Expect to Hear Him.

Through Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit, God wants to speak to you on a One-to-one basis, every day. He wants to lead you step by step to the good things He has in store for you. He cares about the tiniest details of your life. He even keeps track of how many hairs you have on your head (Matthew 10:30). He cares about the desires of your heart. And He wants to reveal truth to you that will set you free from worry, fear, past hurts, and so much more.

His plan to share an intimate relationship with you existed before you were even born. The psalmist said of God,[] “Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before they took shape, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16).

Like I mentioned in point 1, I expect my husband to speak to me, and he expects me to speak to him. When we pray, we need to expect an answer. When we want to spend time with God, we need to expect He will speak to us in some way. It might be an assurance that you can trust Him. It might be that still small voice you hear in your mind and heart that brings peace. But if we don’t expect to hear from God, we won’t be listening for His voice.

Doesn’t it stand to reason that, if God knows all of our days and where we are going to live before we are even born, it is important to learn how to hear form Him? Hearing God’s voice is not only exciting, it also keeps us on the right track!

In Matthew 7:13 – 14 Jesus spoke of a narrow path that leads to life and a broad path that leads to destruction, and He told us to stay on the narrow one. If we can discern God’s voice, we can know if we are veering off onto the wrong track, and we can make an adjustment before we reap bad results from a bad decision.

Each of us can hear from God and be led by the Holy Spirit daily! Look at your neighbor and tell them “God is speaking to you, are you listening?”

When you wake up in the morning, before you even get out of bed, tell the Lord you love Him and you are His. Ask Him what He would have you do that day. Even if you have to go to work or school, you can ask God to show you what to say to do that day  that would give Him glory. He might have an assignment in the middle of your day that would minister to someone. He might have something precious He wants to tell you about yourself. Expect to hear from God every day. So exciting will be your life!

3. God offers a lifetime partnership.

We need the Holy Spirit guiding us through every day of our time on this earth. God is committed to guide us even until we leave this life, so it seems important to learn how to hear what He is telling us.

One of the many benefits of hearing from God is that He helps us prepare for the future. The Holy Spirit gives the message to us that has been given to Him from the Father. He announces and declares to us things that will happen in the future.

John 16:13 – 15 NKJV

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

We see many instances in the Bible when God gave people information about the future. Noah was told to prepare for a flood that would come to destroy the people of the earth (Genesis 6:13 – 17). Moses was told to go to Pharaoh and ask for the release of the Israelites, but he was also told that Pharaoh would not let them go (Exodus 7). Obviously, God does not tell us everything that will happen in the future, but the Bible says He will tell us of “things to come.”

John 10:4 – 5 NKJV
And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

God will tell us the way to go, but then we have to do the walking. A walk with God takes place through one step of obedience at a time. Some people want the entire blueprint for their life before they will make one decision. God does not usually operate that way; He leads us one step at a time.

By faith, we take the step God has shown us, and then He gives us the next one. At times we may fall down and must get back up; we may stumble, but He always helps us. We continue on by His strength and His grace, knowing that every time we face a fork in the road, God will guide us.

4. Don’t have selective hearing.

When we are unwilling to hear in one area, it may render us unable to hear in other areas. Sometimes we choose to turn a deaf ear to what we know the Lord is clearly saying to us. We only hear what we want to hear; it’s called “selective hearing.”

After a while, people think they can’t hear from God anymore but in reality there are lots of things they already know He wants them to respond to, and they haven’t done so.

The more quickly we do whatever it is the Lord tells us to do, the more quickly He reveals the next step we are to take. Obedience brings blessing. Obedience brings growth. Obedience sharpens our fellowship with God. Disobedience is a growth blocker.

I assure you that if you fight with God every time He tells you to do something, it will make you just plain miserable.

Jesus said, “Follow Me.” He did not say, “You take the lead, and I will follow you.” We may as well just do quickly whatever God says, the way He wants it done, because in the long run, if we want to enjoy God’s perfect plan for our lives, we are going to have to follow Him.

Are you the type of person who when having a conversation with someone you think you are listening but in reality you are thinking of the next thing you will say to them? This is not listening. Oh you may be hearing them, but you are not connecting with what they are telling you.

Personally, I get so frustrated with people who do this with me. In fact, I will down right stop and say, “You are not listening to me!” They will reply, “Yes, I am you said….” but their answer after I spoke tells me they heard what I said but didn’t pay attention to it because they said something totally different then the topic I was on. If we don’t listen to people, who are right in front of us, how can we ever listen to God?

When you ask someone a question in the natural, you have to take time to listen to their reply. If you are thinking about the next question or the next thing you want to ask them, you will not even pay attention or be sensitive to what they are saying in the first place. Seriously, don’t waste other’s time and don’t waste God’s time. Be sincere and really listen. Be a listener.

5. Create an Atmosphere to Hear From God.

If we want to be led into victory by the Spirit of God, then we have to be willing to change our lifestyle as God speaks to us. We need to create an atmosphere that is conducive to hearing from God. By atmosphere I mean the climate, environment, or main mood that surrounds us.

Atmosphere is created by attitudes, and certain attitudes enhance or hinder our relationship with God.

Example: If we live in a constant life of strife, which is a spiritual problem, we can feel that strife in the atmosphere. If we enter a room where several people are angry or upset, we can feel that tension even if nobody is saying anything.

We should work to create and maintain a peaceful atmosphere:

Romans 12:18 

If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

To enjoy the fullness of God’s presence, we must consistently maintain an atmosphere conducive to seeking Him, honoring Him, and being faithful and obedient to Him.

If we want to hear form God, we must yield our attitudes to the lordship of Jesus Christ and learn to be led of the Spirit in all of our ways.

Attitudes for hearing God

  1. Keep a Listening Attitude.

Listening is an important key to hearing! Have you ever met someone who asks questions, but doesn’t listen to the answers? It is hard to talk to people who are not listening. The Apostle Paul warns us that we will miss learning rich life principles if we don’t have a listening attitude.

Hebrews 5:11 Amplified Bible

Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight].

When we have a listening attitude, we will know it is God Who is speaking. Remember He doesn’t contradict His Word. We can also know what we are hearing by placing it against His character. We must know God’s character in order to know what is from Him and what isn’t. He is gentle, not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing.

Matthew 11:28 – 30 Amplified Bible

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Listening to God’s voice we know that He will never go against Himself. In other words, if you hear a voice, thinking it is the Holy Spirit, and it goes against the Father or the Son, or against His Word, it is NOT the Holy Spirit speaking to you. If it goes against God’s character, it is not from the Holy Spirit. God’s voice will never tell you to walk in disobedience to His Word, never!

There are many facets of God’s character, and each one of them seems to be more wonderful than the next. He is faithful, true, loving, kind, long-suffering, just, and honest – among many other wonderful attributes.

If I thought I heard God tell me to give up on something just because it was difficult for me, I would question whether that message was from Him, because I know His character is to be faithful. His word says that even when we are faithless, God remains faithful; therefore, when He is told me to do something, it is unlikely He would tell me to give up quickly. He would be telling me to have endurance, perseverance, courage, and to never quit!

2 Timothy 2:13 Amplified Bible

If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.

People need to see God in action and He wants to work through His children. Don’t let Satan deceive you in this area of hearing from God. Know God, know His character, and you will be able to discern the voices that come to you, whether they are His, yours, or the enemy’s.

Jesus said that people have ears to hear, but they hear not; and eyes to see, but they see not.

Matthew 13:15 NKJV

For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.

This is all about our attitude towards God and listening to what He wants. If your ear is dull to God’s voice it is time to sharpen it so you can be healed once and for all of your past issues.

Have an attitude to listen, and go the next step and obey His voice. Even if it requires the pain of letting go of past offenses and looking at yourself to change. You will experience a freedom in God you have never experienced before.

II.  Keep an attitude of Faith.

I remember when God called me to go to a Lutheran church in Washington state to be their Minister of Music. I was raised Pentecostal and charismatic. But God told me to “Bring the water to the desert.” Much opposition came from the religious group who wanted things to remain the same. They had secret meetings (about 50 of them) discussing the Senior Pastor and I. Ultimately they made the church Board vote to decide on keeping me or not. They printed out over 50 statements of their “concerns” regarding how their church was going. The vote was 3 to 2 to keep me. During that time I had to totally keep an attitude of faith and believe God’s voice of bringing the water to the desert. I wanted to quit many times. It was hard and people came against my character. Why would they invite me to come and be their Minister of Music if they had issues of me being female, and have a pentecostal background in the first place? My attitude would make or break me if I let it. God was teaching me to have a “bull-dog” grip on His words He spoke to me and to keep a good attitude of faith.

Sometimes we give more consideration to what people tell us or what they think instead of what God has said to us. If we pray diligently, hear from God, but then start asking everybody else what they think, we are honoring people’s opinions above the Word of God. This attitude will prevent us from developing a relationship in which we consistently hear from God. This is not an attitude of faith.

Paul had been persecuting the Christians and was not a likely person to be called to preach. If I was one of Paul’s peers, I would have had a hard time believing that he was called. He knew what the reaction to his ministry would be, so he wrote:

Galatians 1:15 – 17 NKJV

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

The Amplified Bible adds: [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone]. Paul said that he kept the news of his calling to himself; he didn’t check it out with “the big guys” who were supposed to always be hearing from God. He knew what God had done with him on that road to Damascus. He knew that he had been changed forever (Acts 9:3 – 8). He knew that the Son of God had been unveiled and disclosed on the inside of him. He knew that he could never go back to the life he had lived. He knew that for the rest of his life he would have to preach the gospel and remain faithful to why he head heard Jesus say to him.

Paul kept God’s Word in his heart and let it grow and  manifest on its own. Then he started doing what he was called to do. Soon others recognized that the calling on him must have been from God. Paul finished by saying, “And they glorified God [as the Author and Source of what had taken place] in me” (Galatians 1:24).

I had to learn how to be led by the Holy Spirit. We all have a conscience. Our conscience will bear witness with the Holy Spirit when God is calling us or guiding us to do something.

Romans 9:1 Amplified Bible

I am speaking the truth in Christ. I am not lying; my conscience [enlightened and prompted] by the Holy Spirit bearing witness with me.

Did you know God created our Conscience? Doesn’t it make sense that our conscience has to bear witness to the Holy Sprit when He is talking to us? It does. So, never ignore your conscience because it has to line up with God’s Spirit. If you think you have heard from God don’t move on it until you know for sure that it “fits inside.” Everything that is right for our lives has a place on the inside of us, where it is going to settle comfortably.

God may call us to do something we don’t always like in the flesh, but deep inside it will give us pleasure if it is truly a calling from God. For example I am not eager to write a sermon every week because it takes time, prep, and sacrifice, but I know what I am called to do. I am excited about preaching, so I don’t think about the parts of my ministry that are less pleasant.

There is a deep desire on the inside of me that is settled with any inconvenience associated with my calling. I know I have to sacrifice time during my week to write sermons in order to do what God has called me to do.

God may call you into things that you may not be used to doing. You may be scared in the natural, but you will feel that what you are doing fits inside with everything else that God has developed in you.  An attitude of faith will help you fulfill your calling.

III.  Keep an attitude of patience.

I need to hear from God everyday, and I want to hear from Him about everything. To hear God, we must be willing to wait on wisdom out of a passion for wanting God’s will more than anything else.

We will hear from God much more clearly if we are determined not to move in the heat of our fleshly desires or emotions. We will be blessed if we wait and make sure that we have heard form God before we take any steps at all. Then we should do what God is saying to do, even if it hurts, and even if it costs us something.

Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit. Patience is not an ability to wait. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that manifests while we are waiting. If patience doesn’t manifest in times of waiting, then we see the fruit of impatience during those times. We all have patience inside of us. What prevents it from coming out is being impatient.

Even this week I had to ask God to forgive me for being impatient waiting for Him to do something or to show me what to do. My flesh can win out and get the best of me sometimes. I hate that! That’s why we have to “die to our flesh” and allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in us. His ways are far better then our ways.

We need to wait for sound wisdom before we act on an impulse that we think is from God.

Learn to wait. Emotions that rise and energize us will fall, and emotional impulse won’t carry us where we really need to go. We need God’s energy, which is Holy Spirit determination to follow through and do what God has said.

We can miss God by being in a hurry to get what we want. If we don’t wait, especially in important areas, we will bring trouble into our lives. Patience is becoming more finely tuned in my life all the time.

I have learned that when I feel anxiety rise in me to handle something, I should let it rest for at least twenty-four hours. It is amazing how we can change our mind if we will just let things settle for a few hours. We can save ourselves so much trouble if we will learn to wait on God.

IV.  Keep an attitude of obedience.

The psalmist David said of God:

Psalm 40:6 Amplified Bible

Sacrifice and offering You do not desire, nor have You delight in them; you have given me the capacity to hear and obey [Your law, a more valuable service than] burnt offerings and sin offerings [which] You do not require.

God delights in the atmosphere of our obedience. Naturally, it doesn’t do God any good to talk to us if we aren’t going to listen and obey.

For many years, I wanted God to talk to me, but I wanted to pick and choose what to obey. I wanted to do what He said if I thought it was a good idea. If I didn’t like what I was hearing, then I would act like it wasn’t from God. God has given us the capacity both to hear Him and to obey Him. He does not require a higher sacrifice than obedience.

Some of what God says to you will be exciting. Some things God tells you might not be so thrilling to hear. But that doesn’t mean that what He tells you won’t work out for good if you will just do it His way.

If God tells you that you were rude to a person, and He wants you to apologize, it won’t work to answer back, “Well, that person was rude to me too!” If you talk back with excuses, you may have prayed, and even heard, but you haven’t obeyed.

Don’t allow excuses to prevent you from doing what God tells you to do. Excuses stop you from your promised land. Excuses are the easy way out. Excuses are birthed from the flesh. If the flesh wins, sin has won!

Instead, go apologize if God tells you to do so. Take yourself through the walk of obedience and say to that person, “I was rude to you, and I’m sorry.” Now you have obeyed. Now God’s anointing can flow through your life, because you are obedient.

Disobedience is sin. Sin separates us from God. God can not anoint and approve of sin. It goes against His character. Bottom line: Don’t disobey God, but pray and obey.

If you want God’s will for your life, I can tell you the recipe in its simplest form:  PRAY AND OBEY

God has given you the capacity to do both. If you do that, before you know it, you will have stepped right into God’s perfect plan for your life.

V.  Keep an attitude that honors God.

Another attitude that invites the presence of God into our atmosphere is one that honors Him above all others. We need to have an attitude that says, “God, no matter what anybody else is telling me, no matter what I think myself, no matter what my own plan is, if I clearly hear You say something to me, and I know it’s You, I am going to honor You and what You say above anything else.

Remember He will never tell you do to anything that goes against His Word. His role is supreme in our life. Not our will but His. Most people have a hard time with this. But if we want to be more like Jesus, we have to have the same attitude He did. Jesus said,

Luke 22:42 Amplified Bible

Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.

The word honor means: “high respect, or esteem, a privilege, regard with great respect, fulfill an obligation or keep an agreement.” (google.com)

We show God respect when we obey Him. He deserves respect. Our attitude should be that God is in charge and I am to listen and obey His orders. I am to honor Him in my lifestyle, the words that I speak, who I hang around, what I watch or listen to, what I think, and what I do with my body.

Even having a critical spirit dishonors God. Being critical of others, or even being critical of God, can prevent us from hearing God’s voice.

There are so many things that can make us “un-clean.” But thank God we live in the New Testament Covenant and we have God’s mercy and grace so we can ask for His forgiveness. We just need to walk away from what doesn’t please Him that we are doing. He will always have something better for us when we do!

Perhaps you have wasted many years walking your own way without seeking God’s guidance. The good news is that it’s not too late to turn and go in a new direction – toward God’s plan and purpose for your life. It is not too late to learn how to hear from God. If you are sincerely willing to obey God, He will guide you on an exciting journey of learning to hear from Him every day of your life.

Get ready for the ride of your life as you walk in obedience and create an atmosphere to hear God’s voice.

Next week we will look at the “Hinderances to hearing God’s voice.”

Your Sister In Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

 

 

 

 

Sources: Pastor Kris Belfils and Joyce Meyer

Responsibility of the Worshiper

Responsibility of the Worshiper2Most Christians attend church not with an attitude of contributing but with the purpose of getting as much out of the service as they possibly can. In keeping with that mindset, pastors and worship leaders are expected to see that all the components of the service flow together cohesively and meaningfully. “That’s the pastor’s job!” If something goes wrong, the pastor or worship leader gets the blame, and both are likely to hear about it. The weight of the responsibility for the service is thus seen to fall on the shoulders of those on the platform, and the individual in the congregation is relatively free from feeling any responsibility for the service. But if we truly believe that all Christians are active members of the New Testament priesthood – that all of us are ministers before and unto the Lord – then we must begin to accept the proper responsibility for our role as ministers in the congregation.

Responsibility of the Individual Worshiper

1. Minister unto the Lord.

The first and foremost responsibility of every worshipper is to minister unto the Lord.

Psalm 150:1 (KJV)

“Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.”

“Praise ye the LORD…” the responsibility to praise and worship does not rest on the pastor or the worship leader; it is your responsibility, it is my responsibility (as an individual), the responsibility of each person to offer up an individual “sacrifice of praise” to the Lord. Far too often we come to church and see what we can get. It is time we come to church to see what we can give. We should be eager and excited to minister back to the Lord in worship. This is our action; to love on the Lord. Tell Him how good He is. Thank Him for who He is and what He has done in your life. Tell Him of His greatness.

2. Prepare ourselves for worship.

Staying up late Saturday night and watching a “horror flick” is not a good way to prepare for Sunday worship. Try to get to bed at a decent hour if possible on Saturday night’s.  On Sunday mornings spend some time thinking about God and possibly in prayer before you come to church on Sunday mornings (even if it is in the shower). We want to come with hearts already in tune to the Spirit of God.

Sometimes I feel like I am your cheerleader encouraging you to enter into praise and worship. It shouldn’t take the second or third song during worship before you enter in. You should be ready to enter in to worship even before you come to church, so when it is time to corporately enter in to praise and worship you are hungry for it.

One excellent way to prepare for worship is to deal with any known sin in your life before you get to service. If, at the outset of the service we are trying to come into right relationship with God, we can lose precious moments that could have been spent in vibrant praise and worship. Or if we try to sweep that sin under the carpet, and not deal with it, we will not find a full release in worship.

Do you wonder why you struggle in praise and worship? Do you feel like God is far away?  Maybe you need to check your heart and see if there is any thing like attitudes, or issues that prevent you from entering into God’s presence. Again… this is YOUR responsibility as a worshiper.

3. Invest ourselves in prayer for the service ahead of time.

Dr. Judson Cornwall has said that prayer is to the believer as communication is to a marriage – absolutely vital. He defines prayer as communication with God and suggests that the prayerless saint will never be a worshiper.

Jesus gave us a principle that applies here:

Matthew 6:21

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

If we invest ourselves diligently in prayer for the worship service, we will be amazed at our level of concern for and participation in the service. If we spend quality time praying for the service, we will be eager to see a return on that investment and will be ready to become involved to help make it a glorious time.

4. Frequent the place of worship.

Hebrews 10:25 (CEV)

“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.”

We live in a self-confident society. People make excuses for not coming to church and think they are okay. I have even heard people say, “I am not backsliding” when it comes to not coming. Listen, develop a love for God’s house and His people. I can’t wait to get to church and be a part of the service. I enjoy seeing you all and fellowshipping with you. I come excited to see what God is going to do in all of our lives.

People can get out of the habit of coming to church. We need to get in the habit of coming. Great things happen in the house of God.

We all need the strength and encouragement we receive by fellowshipping with other in the body of Christ. Individually we are only small members in the body; by ourselves, cut off from that body, we will die spiritually.

An arm can’t decide, “Well, I don’t need to go be a part of the body today, I think I will go and do something else. No, that would never happen, yet that is exactly what happens with us. We decide we were at church last week and don’t need to come two weeks in a row so we stay home and watch T.V. or something else. Soon, we miss another Sunday, and then another Sunday until we are not going to church all together. Don’t let this be you. Guard against this. This is exactly what the devil wants to happen with you. Be aware of this and set your mind ahead of time to go to church. I can’t imagine missing a service. In fact, it pains me when I am gone. Let’s develop a love for God’s house, which is God’s people, that won’t be shaken.

We must come into God’s presence by offering up a sacrifice of praise, and we should be prepared to reach out in ministry to other brothers and sisters as the Holy Spirit would divinely direct us.

5. Be self-motivated in our praise and worship.

A worshiper worships at every given opportunity and does not demand some horizontal stimulus from the pastor or worship leader before entering into praise. (Smile) Be ready to worship. Have a hunger for God. Show you love the Lord by volunteering to enter in to worship. Your level of worship and how you enter in reflects your walk with God did you know that. If your walk is shallow and indifferent, so will your worship be.

Psalm 145:1 – 3 Amp

“I will extol You, my God, O King and I will bless Your name forever and ever [with grateful, affectionate praise]. Every day [with its new reasons] will I bless You [affectionately and gratefully praise You]. yes, I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; and His greatness is [so vast and deep as to be] unsearchable.”

David wrote this and he was a worshipper. He knew how to encourage himself in the Lord and we can do the same thing. Allow worship to become a part of your everyday life.

6. Enter readily and wholeheartedly into the praises of God.

Far too many of us are “slow starters” on Sunday morning.

We are like a cold engine on a wintry morning, and I feel like the driver of an old classic car trying to get the thing started by cranking up the engine. Crank it up – a few sputters – then nothing. Crank it again – sputter, cough, sputter, – it dies. Crank it one more time – and finally something seems to “take” and the engine starts.

New sports cars are sometimes rated according to how quickly they accelerate: “zero to fifty in 8.6 seconds.” I wonder how our services might be rated on a similar scale: “zero to fifty in twenty-five to thirty minutes.”

We are to do more than just sing songs. The Psalms exhort us to “sing praise unto God.” Just because we are singing songs, doesn’t mean we are singing praise or truly worshiping. It is possible for us to sing without having our hearts in it at all. Our responsibility is to get our hearts engaged. When you really want to see someone you will make every effort to make it happen. How hungry for God are you? How passionate for Your Savior, the Lover of your soul are you? Don’t allow praise and worship to just be lip service.

When we first come before the Lord, that is not the time to spew out all our problems and cares upon Him. What a terrible way for God to have to start the service! When we first come in, we are to put aside those concerns, block out all the emotional upheavals of the week, put on a garment of praise, put a smile on our faces, and lift up our hearts in thanksgiving and praise to God!

7. Worshiping despite distractions.

How easy it is to blame others for our lack of praise!

-“The worship leader just isn’t flowing with the Spirit of God today!”

-“What’s the pastor doing – she doesn’t look like she’s enjoying the worship service at all.”

-“My, that was a sour note on the piano!”

-“The drums are too loud!”

-“The drums are too quiet!”

-“Why do we always sing the chorus over and over again?”

-“The guitar is too loud!”

-“They never sing the songs I like!”

-“They don’t sing hymns.”

-“I am not a “music person” so I don’t worship.”

-“The people around me are not worshipping so why should I?”

-“This worship leader obviously doesn’t know what she is doing!”

There are “a thousand and one” reasons why we do not praise God. But the responsibility to praise must inevitably return upon us. God never told us to praise “if you like the style of the worship leader” or “when a song you really like comes along.” What does Scripture say?

Psalms 34:1

“I will bless the LORD at all times!” 

Even when the worship leader is off key, the pianist does not know the song, and the drummer is too harsh. This comes as an injunction to all of us as worshipers: we must not allow ourselves the luxury of becoming distracted by the sincere but faltering efforts of the musicians or leader. We may be very accurate in our analysis of their deficiencies, but we will rob ourselves of the privilege of blessing the Lord.

Other distraction might be, “Oh, I have to go to the bathroom” and it has been your seventh trip already since you came to church. May be you are allowing your mind to wonder and don’t focus it back on God. Maybe you go and get a cup of coffee? Or, even worse, you are on your smartphone on Facebook or playing a game on your phone instead of putting it away and focusing on God?

8. Be worshipers all week long.

A true worshiper does not enjoy worshiping only on Sunday in the congregation; their life is a continual praise and worship unto God 24/7. Once we have learned that life of worship throughout the week, it is easy to come together in the congregation and praise Him.

When worshipers assemble, the praise ascends immediately. If the level of praise in our congregation is poor, we can be sure the problem is that the people have not learned to live a life of praise throughout the week. We have been called to more than “just visiting” the house of the Lord.

It is easy to confuse worshiping with being a worshiper. Just because someone worships, it does not necessarily follow that he or she is a worshiper. Virtually anyone can worship as the occasion might demand, but relatively few seem to manifest the life-style of a worshiper. When God asks us to be worshipers every day, He is not asking us to do nothing but sing songs all week. He knows we must do other things besides vocalize our worship. But God does ask us to live a life consistent with that of a worshiper seven days a week. Once we adopt that life-style, we will find a song of praise frequently welling up from within. We will begin to realize that everything we do truly constitutes an act of worship unto the Lord, for our daily activities are but an expression of our dedication to God.

Someone has said, “Don’t ‘lip’ it unless you live it.” We all fall short of God’s ideal from time to time. We do not wait to praise God until we are living a perfect Christian life, or else none of us would ever praise. But as we confess the Lord with our mouth, our life slowly comes into line with that confession.

“Your walk talks, and your talk walks, 

but your walk talks further than your talk walks.”

Worship God through your love for Him. Worship God because He sent His Son to set your free to worship! He rescued you. You are a new creation. You are brand new. Your old life has passed away and behold all things are new. Fresh and new. You still have the price tag on you! Make God your everything and you will find you can’t help but worship Him.

May intimacy of our worship break chains in our life! May it open the heavens and we experience God’s kingdom on earth. May we break forth into joy the sets others free. May we see beyond ourselves and minister back to our Creator. We are filled with God’s presence when we worship. We are free!

From one worshiper to another,

 

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Some of the material provided in this article is from: Exploring Worship: A Practical Guide to Praise & Worship, By Bob Sorge

Door of Deliverance

Door of Deliverance 2We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is the very foundation of our Christian faith. God made a way for all mankind to be delivered from the wages of sin which the Bible tells us is death.

Romans 6:23 NLT

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I have devoted my life to tell people that Jesus is alive and that He loves them so much He died and took their place. God offers us a choice to be saved from hell and damnation. Even though we deserve the worse, God has given us His best so we are delivered and redeemed and set free from any power sin had on us. It is our choice to receive deliverance or not.

In this message I want to look at the “Door of Deliverance” God has placed before us, to step back and see how God delivered the Israelites from bondage as a foreshadowing of what Christ will do for us, and to see how it is the biggest and best door we could ever walk through. This is the last message on the “Doors” series. What a powerful ending of the open doors to look deeply at the Door of Deliverance God has provided each one of us.

What comes to your mind when you think of the word deliverance? I am sure it conjures up many thoughts.

Psalm 32:7 KJV

“Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah”

God is our hiding place. As a believer no matter what we are going through, no matter what we have done, we can hide in Him. Songs of deliverance is a powerful thought because this is exactly what God does for us as we hide in Him; He delivers us from our trouble. Remember last weeks message; Door of Hope? God places a door of hope in the middle of the Valley of Achor (trouble) [Hosea 2:15]. Right in the middle of our struggles God will open up a door of hope for you.

The word deliverance in this passage means “escape” [pallet (pal-late) Strongs Hebrew and Greek Definitions H6405] and when you bring that word back to the Hebrew primitive root it expands to mean; “out, that is, escape; causatively to deliver: carry away safe, deliver, (cause to) escape” (H6403).

We can escape death and an eternity in hell all by receiving what Christ did on the cross for us. That is first and foremost the biggest door of deliverance God has provided for each of us. I can’t think of any worse trouble then spending my eternal future burning in hell. Remember what the Bible says is true; there is a God, a heaven, a devil, and a fiery hell.

Looking at the word deliverance further:

Joel 2:32 KJV

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

The word delivered (malat) is a primitive root (H4422) and is translated; “to be smooth, to escape; to release or rescue, emit sparks, save speedily and surely.”

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered! This is a promise. We have a deliverer Who is ready and willing to come and rescue us and smoothly provide a way of escape from our troubles and bring us speedily and surely to a safe place. How many of you want to be safe? Me too! Turn to somebody and tell them “You are safe in Jesus!”

Luke 4:18 – 19 KJV

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Jesus read these words from the book of Isaiah in the Synagogue. All present marveled and looked intently at Him. It is what was prophesied in the Old Testament in Isaiah 61:1- 2. But when Jesus read this to the Chief Priests and Elders they didn’t like it. They kept the people in bondage by their rules and laws and rituals. How can this man be professing that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him? This was the beginning of much hatred and rejection from the Religious rulers and eventually plotting to kill Jesus.

The word deliverance (aphesis pronounced af-es-is) in this passage of scripture gives an even better definition: “freedom, pardon, deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission (G649, from G863).

Jesus came to set the captives free from any enslavement. He wants us to walk in freedom because we have been forgiven of all the wrong we have done. Walking in freedom means to walk away from what held you captive. It means to walk in obedience to God and enjoy your life. You never go back to it again. Even our own fleshly, selfish desires can put us in prison and hold us captive, but once you have truly tasted freedom, you no longer want to go back to anything that put you into slavery in the first place.

You and I can be in bondage and not even realize it. Once we come out of slavery we realize how captive we really were. We can be entrapped by sin, un-forgiveness, bitterness,

haughty spirit, our past, or even our future if we allow it. God wants to deliver us all from that and much more today.

Jesus is our Passover Lamb of Deliverance

Did you know that the Passover is being celebrated right now with all Jewish communities. How is this important to this message? Looking at the Old Testament we can see an event that was extremely prophetic for our deliverance.

The Passover lamb was the animal God directed the Israelites to use as a sacrifice in Egypt on the night God struck down the firstborn sons of every household (Exodus 12:29). This was the final plague God issued against Pharaoh, and it led to Pharaoh releasing the Israelites from slavery (Exodus 11:1). After that fateful night, God instructed the Israelites to observe the Passover Feast as a lasting memorial (Exodus 12:14). How amazing they celebrated their deliverance even before they were delivered! 

God instructed every household of the Israelite people to select a year-old male lamb without defect (Exodus 12:5; cf. Leviticus 22:20-21). The head of the household was to slaughter the lamb at twilight, taking care that none of its bones were broken, and apply some of its blood to the tops and sides of the doorframe of the house. The lamb was to be roasted and eaten (Exodus 12:7-8). God also gave specific instructions as to how the Israelites were to eat the lamb, “with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand (Exodus 12:11; cf. Ephesians 6:14). In other words, they had to be ready to travel.

God said that when He saw the lamb’s blood on the doorframe of a house, He would “pass over” that home and not permit “the destroyer” (Exodus 12:23) to enter. Any home without the blood of the lamb would have their firstborn son struck down that night (Exodus 12: 12-13).

Exodus 12:13 NKJV

“…And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

When I see the blood… When God saw the blood on the doors He didn’t kill the first born. Those who obeyed God were saved. Not only were they saved but this very act made for their freedom from slavery. They were set free from Pharaoh and Egypt to pursue the promise land.

This is what Christ did for us. The Bible tells us that Jesus is our passover lamb.

1 Cor. 5:7 NKJV

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

The Israelites were to find a lamb with no blemishes. No one else could have ever fulfilled being the Passover Lamb except Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist proclaimed who Jesus was stating He was the Lamb of God.

John 1:29 NKJV

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

Jesus was crucified when the passover was observed. The ultimate Lamb was sacrificed for you and me to take away every sin, every wrong we have done, and took our place. He was like a lamb being led to the slaughter and didn’t speak a word (Matt. 27:14).

If it was me I would be telling everyone my innocence so I wouldn’t be killed. But Jesus remained silent. He remained silent for you and I. He knew why He came to earth. He fulfilled His assignment His Father gave Him. Touch someone and say, “He took, my place!”

Power in the blood

There is power in the Blood of Christ. Christ shed blood is the act of dying that leads to our redemption. Most of the time seeing blood makes you think of death, but in this powerful case it means LIFE!

Jesus is our Passover Lamb. Christ’s blood was spilt and applied for our salvation.

20 Things the Blood of Jesus Does*

1.      It remits sins (Matt. 26:28).

2.      It gives life to those who consume it (John 6:53).

3.      It causes us to dwell in Christ and He in us (John 6:56).

4.      It is the means by which Jesus purchased the church (Acts 20:28).

5.      It is the means by which Jesus becomes our atonement through faith (Rom. 3:25).

6.      It justifies us and saves us from wrath (Rom. 5:9).

7.      It redeems us (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9).

8.      It brings those who were far away from God near to Him (Eph. 2:13).

9.      It grants us the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14).

10.    It brings peace and reconciliation to God (Col. 1:20).

11.    It has obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).

12.    It cleanses our conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14).

13.    It is the means by which we enter the most holy place with boldness (Heb. 10:19).

14.    It speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb. 12:24, NIV).

15.    It sanctifies us (Heb. 13:12).

16.    It makes us complete for every good work (Heb. 13:20-21, NKJV).

17.    It cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

18.    It bears witness in the earth along with the Spirit and the water (1 John 5:8, KJV).

19.    It is the means by which Jesus washes us (Rev. 1:5; 7:14).

20.    It is the means by which we overcome the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:11).

The amazing news is that Jesus didn’t stay dead! No, He rose from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and I. We all need a Passover Lamb! He is our Door of Deliverance. Jesus took the keys of hell and death so that we might not die but live and spend eternity with Him.

Who needs a passover? We all do! We have “do-overs” but this is far greater then any do-over. We have a God who passes over our mess, mistakes, sins, wrong-doings, and washes us all clean and white as snow through His Son, Jesus Christ. This was Jehovah’s plan from the beginning of time. One can not argue over all the facts of how Jesus was our Passover Lamb. What about you? Have you asked Jesus to be your Passover Lamb yet? Don’t hesitate. Today is the day for your salvation, your deliverance as you walk through that open door God has provided for you.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I realize You did come to save me from all the wrong I have done. You truly are the Son of God to take away my sins. I ask you to be Lord of my life and forgive me of it all. Thank you for being my Passover Lamb. Thank you for choosing to go to the cross in my place. You paid it all and I owe you everything. From this day forward I will follow You all the days of my life. I want all of You so I give You all of me. I am free as I walk through Your Door of Deliverance today, Amen!

I rejoice in the Lord for the transformation in your heart today!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

 

 

*(http://frankviola.org/2012/03/01/thebloodofjesus/)